In the issue of the STAR preceding this, we treated upon war, under the caption of “The Sword.” We showed that if it be reasonable to anticipate the introduction of an infinitely better order of society than has existed under exclusively human rule, it is no less in harmony with reason to expect the utter extinguishment of all systems antagonistic to that more improved state. The universal kingdom of God cannot be coexistent with the kingdoms of this world. War is set forth as a demolisher of obstacles in the way of the introduction of a peaceful reign. This warlike spirit will not be confined to nationalities. It will assume forms that will be much more pregnant with terror to the peacefully disposed than that, causing not only the downfall of weaker nations by victory being perched upon the banners of their opponents, but will make a crumbling mass of the institutions of the proudest and most powerful governments under the sun. We refer to secret combinations and societies that are silently and surely undermining the foundations of the governments of the earth. To warn the people in the nations of those destructive and murderous associations, is a portion of the message of the servants of god in this dispensation. In a revelation given through Joseph, the Seer, at Kirtland, Ohio, Feb. 9th, 1831, the following passage occurs: “And behold, it shall come to pass that my servants shall be sent forth to the east and to the west, to the north and to the south; and even now, let him that goeth to the east, teach them that shall be converted to flee to the west, and this in consequence of that which is coming on the earth, and of secret combinations.”
At the time this revelation was given secret societies of a murderous and communistic description were comparatively unknown in civilized nations, but since then they have increased most alarmingly on both hemispheres. The character of those combinations is well known by their outcroppings, as observable in the sanguinary murderous history of the french commune; the destructive course of a similar element in the United States, scarce two years since, during the great railroad strikes; the Nihilistic assassinations of government officials in Russia; the socialistic attempts at murder in Germany, and the various late attempts against monarchy, in the efforts to take the lives of several of the crowned heads of Europe. These show the objects to be the possession of gain and power. The necessity of shedding blood to obtain them being considered no obstacle. This internal strife in the bodies politic is even more threatening to national existence than conflicts ensuing from kingdom rising against kingdom. A gentleman of prominence who recently gave the subject of these combinations some investigatory attention, was alarmed at the discovery that, to use his own phrase, they “fairly honeycombed the nations of europe.”
The governments in which the socialistic element assumes the more dangerous aspect–Germany and Russia, seek to crush it out of existence by repressory measures, but the effect of these efforts will be the rapid increase of the institutions they are desirous of killing. A nation is an individualism. When the body of a man is attacked with a violent eruptive disease, the only safety lies in adopting means to throw the poisonous matter upon the surface of the skin. If, on the other hhand, it be kept in the system, it will spread through every artery, attack and corrupt the vitals, and mortification, dissolution and death are the inevitable results. So it is with the violent socialistic element in the nations; the poison may be smothered and kept from the surface by repressive legislation, but it is still in the body politic, vitiating its channels, knawing at the national vitals, and the doom of that government is merely a question of time. And what a doom, to be torn in fragmentary shreds by murderous mobs, united only in their aim to break down every restrictive barrier that restrains them in the gratification of their lawless desires.
Did the nations but know of the impending ruin that is at their doors, surely they would tremble, with fearful looking forward, for even now the sword justice hangs over them by a slender thread, liable soon to snap and let the shining blade descend upon their devoted heads.
The fate of the nations of the world is plainly depicted in that most clear and precious record, the Book of Mormon. The existence of the numerous secret orders and societies of the present day are a standing proof of the divine authenticity of that book. They fulfill some of its most emphatic prophecies. For the consideration of those who are sceptical upon this point we refer to page 531 on which is recorded the statements of the Prophet Moroni upon this subject. After telling that these secret combinations had proved the destruction of two distinct peoples who inhabited the Continent of America in ancient times, the Jaredites and Nephites, he says: “And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold they shall be destroyed.” Also speaking prophetically, addressing the gentiles of this day, he says: “Wherefore the lord commmandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you, that you shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you.” He thus faithfully describes the character of such societies: “For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up, seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations and countries, and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies.”
With what pointed plainness did Moroni depict the present condition of some of the Gentile nations. Although his inspired predictions were penned nearly fourteen hundred years ago, his statements are as clear an exposition of existing difficulties as if written in the present hour. And how necessary the warning which the lord through Joseph Smith, the great latter-day prophet, commanded his servants to sound in the ears of all who were converted to the true Gospel of Christ in the eastern countries–“to flee to the west, and this in consequence of that which is coming upon the earth, and of secret combinations.”
One of the latest of the many murderous deeds of these secret agencies was perpetrated at St Petersburg, Russia, on the 14th of April, in the form of an attempted assassination of the Emperor Alexander. A leading paper commenting upon this outrage, says: “The hallucination of Nihilistics and Socialists in supposing that by homicidal crime they can accelerate human progress must be accounted–gross and insane as it is–one of the most serious political dangers of the times.” This is true, and it is beyond the power of human agency to avert the danger. It portends the utter overthrow of every nation in which this socialistic element has gained a foothold. The prophecies foretelling the arising of this combination are receiving an unqualified and literal fulfillment, and we look with equal confidence for the effects of its existence–the utter overthrow and destruction of every country where it appears.
Hear it, O ye nations, and know that your doom is nigh at hand, for already the chill hand of dissolution is laid upon your institutions. Soon will your pride be laid low in the dust. Not only will there be wars, “nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom,” but the peoples of the earth will be torn and rent asunder by internal disturbances, for, as declared in the Book of Mormon, “The lord will send a great division among the people.” It will come to pass that the people of Zion will be the only people who will not be at war one with another. Zion will be the refuge to which the peace-loving in all countries will turn their eyes and direct their steps, for the time will come when “every man who will not take up his sword against his neighbor must needs flee to Zion for safety.”
The Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star Vol. 41 (1879)
Monday, April 21, 1879
Contributors: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. British Mission; Budge, William, 1828-1919;